Do you ever feel awkward going to the hair salon or barber shop and having to abide by a gendered pricing structure that doesn’t represent your identity? Do you feel confined by the notion of having to choose a “men’s” or “women’s” haircut and pay prices based off of these antiquated notions of gender? Well, Logan Parlor, (3251 W. Fullerton Ave.) is paving the way in Chicago—along with Barbara & Barbara, another Logan Square hair salon—for using a gender-neutral pricing structure based off of hair length and seniority of the stylist rather than an arbitrary gender box.
Come to Logan Parlor, sit by the vintage bar, have some Gaslight coffee, snack on some baked goods and chat with the other guests while you’re waiting to meet with your stylist in an eclectic and vibrant space where one can forget about their woes for the day.
Salon owners Jamie DiGrazia (Salon Professional) and Tricia Serpe (Business Specialist) opened up Logan Parlor five years ago with the intent of creating a safe space for their LGBTQ+ guests while also creating a community-oriented space in Logan Square. DiGrazia, a nominee for the North American Hairdresser Award in 2018, is an extremely accomplished salon professional who specializes in barbering, balayage, highly textured hair and hair painting. She consistently works with highly textured hair and loves doing “super short, creative haircuts with graphics and really interesting elements. [She] love[s] when people give [her] creative freedom, to do more artistic styles.”
However, Serpe does not come from a hair salon background. She made the transition from the corporate world of Motorola to the small-business world when Logan Parlor first opened five years ago.
“It was a big change for me from the corporate world [to the small business, hair salon world]. It feels much more rewarding to do this,” Serpe said. “I feel a lot closer to the community—I am genuinely a part of it and am in Logan Square on a daily basis, where I work at coffee shops and take advantage of the neighborhood.”
Both of the owners were inspired to participate in the Logan Square community and were energized by the Logan Square Farmers Market where they cut beards, bangs, do braids, and graphics.
“We wanted to create a space that felt like your home, but where you could also get a haircut. Traditional barber shop culture is very much a social experience where people go and enjoy themselves for the day. It’s hard to recreate that – we’re pulling from that inspiration—it makes for a much better experience for everyone,” Serpe said.
DiGrazia was also motivated from her experiences growing up in the restaurant industry where customers regularly sit at the bar, have a drink and conversations. Why not bring this sense of community to hair salon and barber culture, which are often thought to be disparate concepts?
On the Logan Community
The salon’s location in Logan Square is fundamental to what the salon stands for and what the owners care about. DiGrazia and Serpe are incredibly connected to the Logan Square community as long-time residents and continue to hire employees who are also Logan Square residents. When initially opening up their salon, they were encouraged to open it on the busy, yet unaffordable stretch of Milwaukee Avenue but stumbled upon a space on Fullerton Avenue filled with many vacant storefronts, but still close enough to the train. This space hadn’t been renovated since the 1930s, so they rewired the electrical circuits in the building and gave it a makeover.
DiGrazia shares a similar passion and concern as Serpe when it comes to serving people of diverse hair types, genders, and economic backgrounds. “We want to be literally inclusive—inclusive of all hair types, genders, etc. Anyone should be able to come through the door and be served with great hair. If it is a budget thing, we do have leveled pricing based off of our staff’s certification and skillset level, so our new talent would have a lower price point than someone who is an award winning hairstylist. Our price points are leveled for that reason to support people on a budget.”
They aim to be inclusive and knowledgeable when it comes to serving diverse customers by working with any hair type. DiGrazia and Serpe are also extremely involved in continuous community efforts whether it’s in Logan Square or other parts of Chicago. “We donate to the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, we attend the auction, and we try to support anything we can. If there is a way to be helpful, we are in. We are involved in I Love Logan Square, the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce, and all of the organizations that we know of here,” said DiGrazia. They are always giving back to the Chicago community as they work with Center on Halsted and Howard Brown to give complimentary haircuts for individuals who don’t necessarily have the means to pay for these services and can have access to them while transitioning.
On Gender-Neutral Pricing
Not only is Logan Parlor at the forefront of hair salon education, they are also at the forefront of the gender-neutral hair pricing structure. They have had this pricing structure ever since the salon opened. “When you start your career, you are sourcing friends, a lot of friends in Jamie’s community were females getting short haircuts or individuals in the queer community where the pricing structure had nothing to do with how they identified,” Serpe said.
This gender-neutral pricing structure also works within a business model because hair length correlates to the amount of labor done behind the chair. “It makes sense business-wise too, there’s two sides to look at; if it takes 45 minutes to do this haircut, it should cost this much. It’s about realizing that we are not placing any types of labels or assuming that they owe us a specific dollar amount based off of how they identify.”
The gender-neutral pricing structure sends a message of “equality, fairness, and non-discrimination,” according to DiGrazia and Serpe. “No one has to conform to a gender when they are just trying to get a haircut. There is no boundary on what we can create, we’re not labeling it as anything,” DiGrazia said.
The gender-neutral pricing structure is picking up a lot of momentum all over the internet as it is reflected all over Instagram with hashtags like #haircutshavenogender, #lengthnotgender or #hairishair, according to DiGrazia “People are doing it and getting on board, which makes sense. Back in the day, that’s how they did things, at the barber shop or hair salon, people were separated by race and gender. We want to have people feel like they can come and get their hair done. Change happens slowly, it’s good that it’s happening.”
On the Safe Creativity as a Stylist
Both DiGrazia and Serpe are incredibly dedicated to creating a safe space where people can have fun and feel good about themselves in a genuine way through their experiences at this hair salon. For DiGrazia, there is so much to being a hairstylist.
“Being a hairstylist, I am able to create, so it fulfills my own passion for the art, but I am also able to help someone with their likeness; their look or how they want to show themselves off in the world. I am able to work with them and collaborate with them on what makes them feel good about themselves. There is this whole self-care package that comes with it that I get to be involved in with multiple people a day.”
Additionally, as a business owner, DiGrazia can inspire other hairdressers to have a career path in a field that is perceived as “non-professional.” Their salon offers a career path where people can make a decent living and do a craft that they love and make people look and feel good, she said.
On the Salon’s Growth
While they have gained an incredible amount of notoriety and success in the past few years (they were recently featured in Allure Magazine) they will continue to grow and evolve as an education salon with highly textured hairstylists. The co-owners would like to expand their services in a way that promotes healing and cultivates a safe space for a holistic person rather than solely focusing on one’s aesthetic identity.
Serpe and DiGrazia would also like to collaborate more with other Logan Square salons like Barbara & Barbara. According to DiGrazia, they run educational classes that are open to the stylists there.
“We love what they’re doing and they’re about. If you check out the #logansquarehair [includes Twisted Scissors, Barbara & Barbara and Logan Parlor], you can see really sick hair coming out of Logan Square, so it’s inspiring to see them on Instagram and know that they came from someone you know in real life,” said DiGrazia.
If you’d like to check out the salon, Logan Parlor is having their 5-year anniversary party on Sunday, July 8th from 1-4pm where they will have open doors for people to see the space and meet the team. It is open to the public where people can hang out, celebrate, and eat cake.